"CITY OF OAKLAND"
This famous airplane was the second to cross the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii during the summer of 1927. The first, the Fokker "Bird of Paradise", flown by Army lieutenants Lester Maitland and Albert Hegenberger, successfully made the flight landing at Wheeler Field on June 29th. The third and fourth successful flights occurred about a month later during the Dole Race. The winners of the Dole Race were Art Goebel and his navigator Bill Davis. See "Other Books for You" in the left sidebar. The second place winners of the Dole, Martin Jensen and Paul Schluter (not Register pilots) flew the fourth.
Our airplane was named "City of Oakland". It is identified in the Register as "160", which was the manufacturer's serial number. It had not received a registration number yet. It was flown to Tucson by Clarence E. Clark on Tuesday, April 5, 1927 at 16:30PM. He carried a single passenger, C.W. North. Based at Wichita, KS, they were westbound from El Paso, TX. They remained overnight in Tucson, departing the next morning at 7:30 for San Francisco, CA. Please direct your browser to the pilot Clark's link to learn about this famous Golden Age personage. Below, from the San Diego Aerospace Museum (SDAM) Flickr stream, is a photograph of the airplane.
"City of Oakland" After Its Return to the U.S. (Source: SDAM)
The brand new airplane Clark and North brought to Tucson was one of two prototypes of the Travel Air monoplane later to be known as the Model 5000. Photos of the airplane do not show a Department of Commerce registration number, but we are sure of the serial number, as written by Clark in our Register.
Indeed, Clark's flight through Tucson was an important ferry trip. The airplane was sold to Pacific Air Transport of California. According to sources reviewed by Mr. Wyels (right sidebar), the plane appears to have left Wichita on April 2,1927 accompanied by an OX-5 Model B with D.C. Warren and Louise McPhetridge (although both Warren - the Oakland, CA Travel Air dealer - and Louise McPhetridge Thaden signed the Register, they did not sign near this time).
The airplane was sold by Pacific Air Transport to Ernest Smith (age 34). Mr. Smith and Emory Bronte (age 29; neither signed our Register) flew the airplane to Hawaii July 14-15, 1927. It was wrecked on landing on Molokai after 25 hours and 36 minutes aloft (sources vary on the number of minutes). The pilot and navigator Bronte were uninjured. A prosey account of Smith and Bronte's trans-Pacific flight is at the link. The airplane was returned to the U.S., repaired, and given registration number NC2615.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 11/28/09 REVISED: 04/30/14